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Hydraulic energy
observed by Humanity since ancient times
by Sandro Pintus
"The movement of Water is from high to low. Water originates from the earth but it is found in heaven…it runs uninterruptedly and arrives at its destination…it runs and does not accumulate in any place, even at the most dangerous points it does not lose its trusted character…". This is what the I Ching, the ancient Chinese Book of Changes, says about water.

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Among the renewable energies which are relatively simple to utilise there is, in fact, hydraulic energy, which has been exploited by the human race since ancient times. We can imagine, among our ancestors, various "wise men" who, observing the storms and the rivers, the floods and the movements of the waters, recognised in them a source of power which could make life easier for their fellow men.

What they also noted was that, on a smaller scale, the power of water could also be controlled and channelled to develop renewable energy, using systems which today, in the hyper-technological era, we define as appropriate technology. Closer to our own times, Leonardo da Vinci was one of these great observers of the power of water, and his genius enabled him to design revolutionary machines which are still valid today.

Modern China makes great use of this type of technology, and in the 70s attempted to export it into several African countries of a socialist persuasion which had just achieved independence after European colonialism.

Unfortunately, because of an emergent Western technological neo-colonialism, this type of alternative technology did not have great success. Today the tendency in China, which is set to become a major industrial power with a massive requirement for electrical energy, is to create hydraulic systems of considerable environmental impact.
Nevertheless, the use of appropriate technologies with low costs and low environmental impact, is still an up-to-date and valid alternative for deriving renewable energy from water.

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